A few well-chosen cloth diapering accessories can make the difference between a smooth and a frustrating experience with cloth diapers. I'll cover different options I recommend and why. Many of these accessories are inexpensive, though there is room to splurge!
Wipe and Go
The first thing you'll need is a way to wipe. You can always hold baby's bum under running water, but you're probably going to want wipes too!
You can buy disposable baby wipes from the store or you can use cloth wipes. The advantages of cloth wipes are that you control what is in your wipes and you can just toss them in with your dirty diapers.
You can easily use old, soft washcloths for your baby's wipes. Or you can make your own baby wipes. You can also purchase or make soft and sturdy cloth wipes. A wipe with flannel on one side is preferred by many moms.
There are a number of different cleaning formulas you can use on your wipes. Look over the homemade baby wipes recipes page for more tips and many recipes (I discuss further wipes-related accessories there, too).
Load the Pail
The next item on your list should be a diaper pail. There are several specialty pails on the market. A big 5 gallon bucket from the hardware store will work well. Be sure to pick a pail with a tight-fitting lid.
You may want to line your diaper pail with a waterproof liner but it isn't necessary. Liners are good for helping with odor control, and you can simply dump them into the wash along with the diapers.
Handling Cloth While Out
Cloth Diapers are as straightforward when you're out as they are at home. A roomy diaper bag holds plenty of diapers for any outing.
Make sure you add a wet bag or two – these bags are made of the same material as many diapers (PUL) and provide a waterproof place for you to put wet diapers until you get home. Two wet bags mean you're never left without one if you forget to put it back in your bag. Wet bags, like pail liners, can go in the wash with your diapers.
You can also carry a plastic back or a resealable food storage bag to hold diapers – it's up to you.
Diaper Doublers are something you may want to have on hand. You can choose from a variety of doubler materials from cotton flannel to Sherpas and hemps.
Using doublers you increase absorption without a lot of added bulk. This is beneficial for nighttime diapering or going out. If you have a heavy wetter you may find that you like to use doublers with every diaper.
There are also various kinds of liners for cloth diapers. Flushable liners are useful for easy cleanups. Solids stay on top of the liner, which you can easily strip and toss in the toilet. Some flushable liners can be washed a couple of times if they are only wet when you change the diaper.
You may want to get a few changing pads to have in the diaper bag and around the house.
Having one in your diaper bag is essential for times when you'll need to change your baby and don't have a clean place to do it – or when you need to protect the surface you're changing on. You may also like a soft changing pad lining your changing table at home.
Load your diaper bag with several extra diapers and liners – whichever kind are your favorite for going out. You can take a wipes case with disposable baby wipes out, or you can take a couple of cloth wipes sealed in a plastic bag.
You can use simple plastic grocery bags for bringing home wet diapers, or you can have a waterproof diaper tote.
Diaper totes work well as dirty duds bags too. Also be sure to pack an extra change of clothes and some burp cloths in your diaper bag (prefold diapers make great burp cloths!)
If you have your baby in bed with you it may be wise to invest in a soft waterproof mattress pad to go under both of you. Not only will this pad protect your bed in case of nighttime leaks, it will also absorb any milk that you may leak at night. (Consider wool covers if you have a heavy nighttime wetter.)
You'll soon be able to decide which accessories you like and which you don't feel like you and your baby need. Splurge on what makes cloth diapering easier for you and more pleasant for baby, but most of the time you can get by with just the basics 🙂